19 Sep 2007

Samoa and American Samoa exploring common customs agreement

10:25 am on 19 September 2007

Samoa's Association of Manufacturers and Exporters is optimistic that a common customs treaty with American Samoa between the two countries would work.

The association has signed an agreement with the Chamber of Commerce in both American Samoa and Samoa to lobby support from their respective governments.

The Association's President, Papali'i Grant Percival, who is also a member of Samoa's chamber of commerce, says Samoa has signed up to PICTA and PACER agreements, is negotiating with China for a free trade agreement and about to complete an Economic Partnership agreement between Pacific countries and Europe.

He says opening up trade with neighbouring American Samoa should be a priority.

"It opens up opportunities for American Samoa and Samoa because it consolidates the market and makes it slightly larger than it currently is and makes it perhaps more viable for people to look at investing in American Samoa and in Samoa and developing a market from there utilising the resources of both countries instead of utilising just one country."

Grant Percival says finalising the detail will be a challenge, but needs to be of benefit to both countries.

The idea is expected to be discussed further at the upcoming government talks between the two Samoas, being held in Apia.